Ep 513 – Hunger Strike

Panel Discussion

Posted August 12th, 2018

Matt and Tom discuss the circumstances surrounding Sam Young’s ongoing Hunger Strike, with a focus on their experiences parenting in a post-mormon world.



  • Melissa

    I’ve been involved with the PTC movement. I keep trying to explain alternative theological concepts to believers hoping that if they hear about it enough, it will stick in a few minds.

  • Thomas Moore

    No, No, No. There is no way that I believe that a child should have to be questioned or given moral guidance or describe molestation/sexual assault to a non qualified, amateur. There is no way that a Bishop should make a child or teen feel wrong, unnatural for masturbation or even dreams and thoughts. I felt you guys were going down the wrong path by attacking John Dehlin (even though he is trained/experienced in psychology [whether it’s his profession or not]). If it saves one LGBTQ child/teen or even a straight teen from suicide or pain for masturbation or heavy petting or dry humping; then I say, yes! Do not allow a non qualified construction worker to ask my daughter or son “dirty” questions and details.

    • Matt

      I’m so pleased you listened and commented Thomas. I always value your insight and contribution

      I’m always interested in the things that listeners hear and the conclusions that are drawn.

      When I don’t feel heard or understood, I’m forced to blame myself as the communicator.

      I’ve clearly failed here. Or perhaps this is another situation where tribalism wins.

      I also agree no child should be subject to any sexual questions which is why we never allowed it for our kids.

      I’ll restate again that I support the intentions and efforts of Sam.

      He’s right about so much. But he’s also wrong about a lot too.

      I’m concerned we are giving the church way to much of the blame here and the parents way too much of a pass.

      In order to truly effect change that will protect kids, a full understanding of the different variables that contribute to this problem is a pre-requisite.

      This problem of sexual abuse in a religious context is extremely complex. One of the complexities relates to parental choice. Another involved parental responsibility.

      It is neither accurate, or helptul to say that the interview questions amount to grooming. That is a misunderstanding and misapplication of the term. Maybe that matters and maybe it doesn’t.

      You, me, and Sam agree about more than we disagree about, especially on this issue.

      I understand I’m expected to adopt every proposed move by what is perceived as my tribe.

      After all, we must pick a side and there are only two.

      Also, re John Dyline, I stand by everything I said about him and will likely have more to say in the future.

      I’ll restate what I said on the podcast:

      I hope Sam has incredible success in helping Mormon parents protect their kids. I hope his message reaches bishops and future bishops to prevent them from asking harmful and intrusive questions.

      Many seem to think that Mormons are incapable of making their own decision, or that they have some insight ino their situation that Mormons don’t. Essentially, they say, “this is what you should do.”

      That sounds eerily similar to the position a church I once belonged to takes.

      • Brrrrr

        Mormon stories podcast had a two hour interview with Sam Young, It was very interesting, especially the part about the 29 questions.

  • Tracy Tomlinson Averett

    Does Matt really not know who John Dehlin (Dail’in)?

  • TheMogabi

    Finally commenting after listening to the podcast for a long time…

    Regardless of sexual questioning, one-on-one interviews between youth and bishops are harmful. Period.

    One of the most traumatizing moments of my life was as an 8 year old child when I met alone with the bishop to be interviewed to be baptized. Prior to this time, older neighborhood boys “played doctor” on me in a way that made me feel very unclean. Later, a man I didn’t know (the bishop) came over to our house, sat in our living room, then my parents left me alone with a stranger. In that moment, I was terrified. I was scared to death. This bishop, as far as I ever knew later, was a very good person. There was nothing unusual about my baptismal interview. But I was a terrified kid who was abandoned by his parents in a moment of vulnerability and that was the harmful part of the experience. I didn’t tell the bishop I felt unclean. I kept it inside and it festered as an “unrepented sin” the well into my adult life.

    As time went on throughout primary and then the young men’s program, I was taught at church such ideas as:

    No unclean thing can be in the presence of God.

    Sin makes you unclean.

    Everyone sins.

    Some sins require confession to your priesthood leader.

    Sexual sin is the sin next to murder.

    Masturbation is a sexual sin that needs to be confessed to the bishop.

    The bishop has the power of discernment and will know if you lie to him.

    The bishop is the Lord’s priesthood leader in the ward.

    Lying to the bishop is like lying to the Lord.

    The bishop can read your thoughts.

    The bishop can be prompted to ask you certain questions.

    When Jesus comes again–and it’s gotta be coming soon–sinners will have their sins shouted from the rooftops.

    And so on.

    Before the youth ever sets foot in the bishop’s office, the church has already damaged the youth with these types of teachings. Even if the bishop doesn’t even mention sex or chastity at all, the thought that the bishop *might* ask about it or might be prompted to ask about it is traumatizing. Even if the bishop only asks “Do you obey the law of chastity” and nothing else, if the youth says “yes” but has secretly masturbated then – boom! – they just lied to God about the sin next to murder. Guess what kid? When Jesus comes back, while your righteous family and friends are ascending to meet Him, you’re sins will be shouted from the rooftops.

    I think Sam’s cause suffers from the implication that if bishops stopped asking about sex that private one-on-one interviews with youth would somehow be okay. They won’t. As long as bishops are set up as the representation of the Lord to the members, and as having the power of discernment, and being a judge in Israel who must pass on the worthiness of the individual — and as long as the same types of things that I was taught are part of the teachings of the church to the youth — these interviews will be harmful.

    I love you guys. Thanks for the awesome podcast. And thank you for playing Temple of the Dog. I miss Chris Cornell.

    • Matt

      Thank you for this! Agree 100%.